You Should Have Left

  • by Daniel Kehlmann, Ross Benjamin - translator
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 1 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the internationally best-selling author of Measuring the World and F, an eerie and supernatural tale of a writer's emotional collapse.
"It is fitting that I'm beginning a new notebook up here. New surroundings and new ideas, a new beginning. Fresh air."
This passage is from the first entry of a journal kept by the narrator of Daniel Kehlmann's spellbinding new novel. It is the record of the seven days that he, his wife, and his four-year-old daughter spend in a house they have rented in the mountains of Germany - a house that thwarts the expectations of the narrator's recollection and seems to defy the very laws of physics. He is eager to finish a screenplay for a sequel to the movie that launched his career, but something he cannot explain is undermining his convictions and confidence, a process he is recording in this account of the uncanny events that unfold as he tries to understand what, exactly, is happening around him - and within him.


What the Critics Say

"A beautifully crafted exercise in terror from one of Germany's most celebrated contemporary authors.... This novel is, in many ways, a classic haunted-house tale. There are warnings about the house from the people in the village below. There's a creeping sense of horror. There are frightening phenomena that the narrator cannot explain. And there are specters. Kehlmann uses all these familiar tropes beautifully. But he also creates a sense of existential dread that transcends the typical ghost story.... A book to keep you up at night." (Kirkus Reviews)
"My favorite German novelist. [Ian McEwan, The Sunday Times (London)]


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great idea, but poorly executed or incomplete.

I really enjoyed the concept of Mr Kehlmann's story, but it was underdeveloped. It's closest analog might be Stephen King's "The Shining," but with less detail. He did a good job of not copying that story, but his story left me feeling unfulfilled. The characters were interesting, and I wanted to learn more about them, but got too little history to develop much sympathy for them. That the principal character was a writer attempting to complete a screen play seemed poetic in a way, since the dialogue between the characters was the most detailed and skillfully done part of the story. Still, I was left feeling like the story itself was skeletal, like an outline of something that should've been bigger. I wish I could read (understand) the German language, as I suspect some story details and dramatic impact may have been lost in the translation. But, with all due respect to Mr Dean the translator, I'll admit this is mere speculation.

I enjoyed the reading of the story. The actor's performance was entertaining. His vocal range was very interesting, with a mellifuous baritone that was quite distinctive. He reminded me a little of Orson Welles.

No doubt I'll have to read more of Mr Kehlmann's work...
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- dreyesopen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-13-2017
  • Publisher: Random House Audio